The South African mining industry contributed 7% of the total GDP in 2021 (Stats SA, 2021). As such, it is no secret that with effective and appropriate selection of fleet, operators are enabled to maximize production while minimizing capital and operational costs. Despite the mining industry’s high production and profitability, the sector still faces several challenges. From resource scarcity to increasing expenses, safety, environmental as well as challenges pertaining to the quality of loading and haulage equipment.
With the consideration of the eminent industrial demands and challenges, specialists are always on the lookout for equipment that can help them increase their productivity and meet the pending industry needs. In order to meet these immediate industry needs, Caterpillar designed and manufactured the new Cat® R1700 underground mining loader, to include Caterpillar’s latest technology. The new R1700 fits within the same envelope as the Caterpillar R1700G and is available as a base machine and can be configured for autonomous operation. Before launching into the market, head-to-head study and multiple field trials were conducted which shows that the machine leverages its payload advantage to deliver much faster truck loading and more productive load-and-carry operations while using significantly less fuel per hour.
The Cat® R1700 is now available in South Africa – a machine that is set to increase productivity, offer an additional 20% capacity, increased lift force, and improve loading and haulage performance. To boost productivity even further, the loader is designed to make best use of technology. Optional Autodig helps new operators with being efficient on their first day while reducing fatigue for experienced operators. Autodig also assists operators when operating the machine remotely. MineStar™ Command for underground offers a selection of control technologies—line-of-sight remote control, teleremote control from a distant operator station, semi-autonomous operation, and fully autonomous operation. In addition, the loader is 34% more fuel efficient than the R1700G. This is a major saving for any operation, with the consideration of the recently increased fuel rates.
For the entire underground loader line, Caterpillar now offers Bolt On Half Arrow ground engaging tools (GET) for bucket edges. The system is designed for high abrasion applications where weld-on GET experience high wear rates. With a proven and reliable retention system, the bolt-on GET offer more wear material than standard weld-on GET, and the bolt-on design enables fast and easy removal and replacement. Despite additional wear material, the low-profile front edge eases pile penetration and promotes fast bucket loading.